Raceday Covid restrictions-like face coverings and Covid Status Certification-are set to be eased in England from Jan. 27. Face coverings on racecourses will be strongly encouraged but not enforced, while the courses will drop the government-mandated Covid Status Certification requirement that applied to race meetings with over 4,000 attendees. Restrictions will still be applied in the weighing rooms, where a negative lateral flow test is required for entry and social distancing is enforced. Those rules will be re-evaluated no later than Feb. 14.
British Horseracing Authority Chief Medical Adviser Dr Jerry Hill said, “COVID-19 has not gone away, but with cases continuing to fall we have been able to review our existing mitigations and feel that, in line with government guidance in England, we can now recommend rather than mandate the use of face coverings. We must, however, continue to do all we can to protect our business-critical workforce. Testing for weighing room workers remains a necessary precaution, especially as other measures are eased on course and across wider society. This will be kept under continual review; however, through this mechanism, positive cases have been identified in asymptomatic individuals, which might otherwise have resulted in viral transmission in the weighing room.
“We are grateful to jockeys and all weighing room personnel for their ongoing cooperation in this process–the need to protect each other's health and livelihoods is clearly high on everyone's priority list. Of course, vaccination remains the most effective means of protecting ourselves from serious illness and therefore something that is strongly encouraged for all racegoers. It is also sensible for non-weighing room personnel to test regularly to ensure you are not infectious when on course.”